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Long IslandCrime

Unlocked cars targets of thefts in three North Shore communities, Suffolk police say

More than a dozen cars were stolen or broken into in Stony Brook, Setauket and Old Field last weekend, with the thief predominantly targeting unlocked vehicles with valuables left inside, Suffolk police said Thursday.

Det. Lt. Sean Beran of the Sixth Squad said the thefts largely occurred on Aug. 23 and were likely committed by the same individual or individuals. Law enforcement, he said, are looking at one or two individuals in the thefts.

"It's definitely a connected pattern," Beran said. "Within the Sixth Precinct we are talking about a total of 10 grand larcenies and eight petit larcenies."

Law enforcement, Beran said, have recovered Ring doorbell camera video that captured some of thefts.

In total, 16 police reports related to the thefts, including four stolen vehicles, have been filed. Two of the cars were later recovered — a 2019 Volkswagen was found in Stony Brook and a 2020 Nissan was discovered in Connecticut. A 2009 Acura and 2016 Mazda, with the keys left inside, have not been recovered, police said.

Among the items stolen from other vehicles were credit cards, laptops, wallets, purses, cash, an iPad, car keys, air pods, sunglasses, a hammer and an EZ Pass device, authorities said.

Many of the vehicles were not locked at the time of the thefts, Beran said. 

"It's really been a crime of opportunity," said Beran, who urged residents to lock their vehicles and to not leave valuables in them. "This is something that just kind of sprung up and obviously we are addressing it and putting more resources into it. We have added plainclothes officers and patrol to the area."

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